WAMS was established in 1829 by Ichabod Washburn, the Congregational Church deacon, industrialist and philanthropist who was also a founder of Memorial Hospital, Mechanics Hall, and WPI. (Follow this Link for More information on WAMS’ History).
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s WAMS helped sponsor several important social initiatives that became the forebears of organizations that remain critical to this day, including The Central Ma Housing Alliance, Worcester Community Housing Resources and Aids Project Worcester.
Today, WAMS continues to work with civic, public and private partners to lift up civic and social awareness and to create program vehicles aimed at helping community residents thrive. WAMS also serves as the official mission arm of the Central Association of the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC, helping to identify and interpret social needs in ways that encourage faith community involvement toward the achievement of positive social outcomes.
WAMS’ historic building, located at 6 Institute Road in Worcester is itself home to several organizations in addition to WAMS, including the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance, the Central Area Office of the United Church of Christ and United Congregational Church. As such, “6 Institute” serves as a daily hub for critically important programming and activities that enhance the well-being of our community and its residents.
As cities like Worcester attract public investment aimed at knowledge-based workers / more affluent urbanites, WAMS’ efforts reflect a renewed commitment to finding credible strategies to reduce poverty and increase economic mobility for families and individuals. Key efforts to ensure that all who live here are positioned to contribute to and benefit from our community’s progress include: 1)The Summer CUBS (Comprehension and Understanding Bring Success) Program; and 2) The WAMS Conference Event Series.
WAMS is also committed to fostering social awareness and engagement among youth and all who lead them. Together with Worcester Fellowship, WAMS sponsors ReachOut Worcester, a 20 hour overnight immersion program that explores individual homelessness. In collaboration with Matthew25 and Habitat for Humanity, among others, WAMS sponsors Learn&Serve Worcester, a collection of opportunities for Worcester area youth and their leaders to make a hands-on difference in the lives of low-income and/or underserved children and families.